Winter Hike in Carkeek Park
Winter in the Pacific Northwest is often rainy and cold, but when you get a dry day, it's best to get outside, get fresh air and take a hike. One of my favorite things about Seattle is that there are great hiking trails and nature parks right in the city. Carkeek Park in North Seattle is one of these parks, located along Puget Sound with hiking trails weaving along the creek's ravine down to the Sound. Many of the trees in Carkeek Park lose their leaves in the fall, leaving opportunities for great views of the park's creeks, ravines and Puget Sound.
Carkeek Park is one of many urban hiking parks in Seattle and the surrounding suburbs. What's great about these parks is you can enjoy the beauty of nature in your own neighborhood. Many Seattle neighborhoods are just a short walk, bike ride, bus trip, or drive from any of these great parks. Check out my post 5 Best Bike Routes in Seattle for information on biking to these great parks!
About Carkeek Park
Carkeek Park is a massive 220 acre park in northwest Seattle. The park was established in 1928 and has been a regional gem in the City's park system since. Today, Carkeek Park is home to over 6 miles of trails and several trail loops, salmon creeks, and stunning views of the Puget Sound. In addition to hiking trails, the park has picnic areas, an orchard, playground, an amphitheater area, and an environmental learning center. It is a great park to visit at any time of year!
How to Get There & Tips
Carkeek Park is located in between the Crown Hill and Broadview Neighborhoods of Seattle and can be accessed from local neighborhood streets in the area or along 3rd Avenue Northwest and Holman Road Northwest. The easiest upland access is at Viewlands Elementary School or the Crown Hill QFC location. These two entrances are at the top of the park, with pathways and trails leading along the creek and ravine to the waterfront. Street parking is available throughout the neighborhood . You can also bike or take the bus - Route 28 and Route 40 both have stops near the park entrance. If you drive, there is also a parking lot in the park, near the beach and picnic area.
Level of Difficulty: Carkeek Park is relatively large, with well groomed trails, stairways, and paths. This trail map shows the main paths through the park. Most paths are unpaved/gravel though there is a wetlands board walk and some paved segments as well. Because of its location along a ravine, there are some steep portions which transition to wooden stairs. Walking through the ravine can be hilly at times so be sure to take your time and take advantage of switchbacks when possible.
Provisions: Carkeek Park is within walking distance of many nearby neighborhood eateries and markets in the Crown Hill neighborhood. Many of these restaurants are currently open for take out, perfect for after a hike in the park. Some great local businesses in the area include:
Manna Smoked BBQ | 206-782-5491
If you are looking for picnic provisions, QFC offers staple grocery items, prepared foods, quick snacks, and beverages (including wine and beer).
Views from Carkeek Park
We love exploring all over the Pacific Northwest. Where should we head to next? What's your favorite urban hike? Leave your ideas below.